Summary: Memorial Day with Jack O'Neill.
Slight Crossover. With all the talk on CrossGate, I've got the A-Team on the brain.
Rating: for some insinuated under-age drinking.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. I own none of the characters and gain no money for their use.
Distribution: CrossGate, Mini!Jack, Wormhole Crossing.
Spoilers: Fragile Balance and Heroes II
"Hey Danny-boy," Jack had said. "How 'bout you come up to my cabin for the holiday?"
Daniel looked around the cabin basement in awe and reverence. It was the first time Jack had let him down here. He knew that Jack had lost friends over the years, but this . . . this was too much. Jack had said that he had some alcohol that needed drinking. Daniel had known that Memorial Day would be hard on a career soldier.
But he had never added the truths together to get this.
Every kind of drink imaginable lined the walls of the basement, cheap beers, foreign beers, wines and a surprising number of vodkas. Each bottle had a name written on it, no date, no rank. Daniel could guess
that the alcohol was lined up in chronological order. The archeologist didn't recognize any of the names on the north and east walls, but he remembered most of the names, and the faces that accompanied them, that
graced the south wall and following.
Henry Boyd was represented there, next to Frank Cromwell. Those two bottles of beer were empty. They had been carefully rinsed out and placed back onto the shelf. Daniel hoped that Jack had forgiven himself for their deaths. Daniel thought he had. Daniel browsed the names. Martouf-Lantesh was there to Daniel's great surprise, represented by a plain, dark bottle with no commercial label. The shape of the bottle was
different, but Daniel was sure that he had seen it before. It took a minute and he choked when realization kicked in. Daniel had seen it off-world.
How the hell had Jack snuck a bottle of that out of the SGC? It had been a local hooch. Martouf had mentioned that if he and Lantesh were to drink anything alcoholic, that hooch would be it. Jack had eased off Martouf slightly after that. It was as if anyone who had a favorite drink was partly human. The bottle was still full.
Janet Fraiser was there, symbolized with a bottle of expensive red wine, her favorite kind. Daniel took a moment to mourn a friend. That bottle was full too.
Daniel read some of the earlier names, from before Jack's time in the SGC. He knew that these were more than soldiers who had died, these were –for the most part- drinking buddies. Jack knew each one well enough to buy that person's favorite drink. Jack had painstakingly written the person's native name in their own language. German, Russian, Cuban, Arabic; it didn't matter. Even a couple were written in a script that Daniel couldn't identify. At first Daniel wondered if Jack had written them incorrectly but he quickly discarded the idea. Jack wouldn't screw up something like this. Daniel blinked and looked back at Martouf's bottle. Yep, Jack had written it in Go'uald and Daniel had translated it without conscious thought. When had Jack learned to write anything in Go'uald?
Daniel wondered at the possible security nightmare if anyone found Jack's secret memorial, but then shook his head. A person would have to know something about Jack's missions to understand the important meaning in this basement.
Daniel read off a few more unfamiliar names. One grouping of four different bottles made Daniel smile quietly. Bad Attitude Baracus? Face Peck? Howlin' Mad Murdock? Hannibal Smith? They sounded colorful. Where had Jack met that team? Daniel wondered about who they might be and then shook his head. Jack had their names down here because he couldn't tell anyone their real story.
The clomping of shoes on the stairs distracted Daniel. Jack soon came into view. He had a brown paper bag in one arm and a Sharpe® marker in the other hand.
"Look who I found in town," Jack waved his free hand behind him.
Daniel stared in shock. Mini-Jack and Cassie Fraiser followed closely. Both of the 'teens' smiled at Daniel weakly. Mini-Jack had three different bottles of beer in his hand. Cassie had a bottle of cheap wine in
hers. Daniel watched as first Cassie and then Mini-Jack wrote a name on the bottles and shelved it with the others. Daniel knew some of those names too. Three of the four had joined the military right out of high school last year and had died in the Middle East. Their families were a central part of the Colorado Springs Memorial Day celebrations.
Then Jack took the marker away from them and started in on his bag of alcohol. Daniel stepped closer and watched as name after name from the SGC was written down. It had been a hard year for the SGC. They had lost too many people. Mini-Jack and Cassie stood and watched in respectful silence. Daniel observed but his too busy brain wondered how Jack knew all their favorite drinks.
Jack wrote a name on the last bottle of beer and shelved it. He put the marker in his pocket and folded up the brown paper page neatly. He didn't sigh and he didn't cry.
"Anything you two want to drink?" he asked Mini-Jack and Cassie.
Cassie went straight for where her mother's wine was stored. "Jack, I think it's about time."
Jack nodded. Mini-Jack headed toward the old alcohols. He browsed for a bit and came back with two. One a beer and the other a vodka. He showed them to Jack who nodded with approval. The trio started for the
"Coming Daniel?" Jack and Mini-Jack chorused.
Daniel chuckled softly. "Yeah, I'm right behind you." He felt . . . privileged to be invited to this very private memorial to those who had served.
To those who served, to those who sacrificed. To friends who are out there now and to my baby brother who did several tours and by God's Grace returned to us.